I need advice/help. I'm frustrated and want to quit.
I need some help here as I have tried everything to fight algae all over my aquarium. I have green spot algae, black beard algae and green hair algae. The GSA is all over the aquarium glass and substrate as well as the GHA. The BBA is all over the gravel. It almost looks like a carpet. I have a 75 gallon aquarium with only 51 fish all small guys. Neons, celestial danios, cherry barbs, harlequin rasboras etc.. Based on the one inch per gallon rule I'm under stocked at 62 gallons.
I also have cherry shrimp, obet's, CBS, CRS, Amano and bamboo shrimp.
I have a long finned Pleco and a clown Pleco who love munching on my driftwood. I also have about 4 - 5 otto's who are constantly munching on the algae.
My aquarium parameters are as follows:
Ammonia - 0ppm
Nitrite - 0ppm
Nitrate - 15 - 20ppm
Phosphates - 0ppm
Ph - between 6.5 and 7.0 ppm
My tank is heavily planted and I have a 10lbs CO2 canister that pumps 2-3bps that immediately starts as soon as the lights come on and then turns off at 9pm. According to my drop checker my CO2 levels go from blue to green at roughly between 2 - 3pm and maintain that till the timer shuts off the CO2. My CO2 is diffused into the aquarium using a reactor that i built inline with my fluval 406 filter. I also have an aquatop 10watt uv sterilizer inline to my canister filter. I do 20 - 25% water changes every Friday religiously and I use RO water because my tap water has 2ppm chloramine.
I use 2 48" finnex ray 2 LED lights. One turns on at 10am and turns off at 9pm. The second light turns on at 1pm and turns off at 10pm. I used to have the lights on for only 7 hours a day but it just made the algae worse and the plants seemed to die off rather quickly.
I dose with flourish 2 times a week, flourish excel every other day, flourish trace 2 times a week. My substrate is seachems flourite capped with white gravel. There are 3 large pieces of driftwood in the aquarium.
My plants are about 15 - 20 different species. All ranging from greens to reds. I will name them all if I have too.
I have tried the double doses of excel, using H2O2, limiting light for only 5 hours for 2 weeks, I've tried black outs, this is making me insane with confusion. Honestly I've been fighting it so long that I want to give up. It's frustrating. I've never had an algae issue this bad before.
Any and all advice is welcome. Please help.
As soon as you said "my tank is heavily planted", you lost me as I am not a plant person. BUT, in a round about way that might be the problem. There's obviously an imbalance in your tank that is producing the algae. As for the BBA on the gravel - just remove The gravel. I don't know of anything that really eats it, and it's impossible to get off. You're better off getting new substrate in my opinion.
I've had larger aquariums stocked with lots of small fish, and while many may think that 50 fish in a 75 is a lot, I certainly do not. Almost everyone will tell you how the inch per gallon rule is nonsense, and in many situations it is. You will hear "a 10 inch goldfish can't live in a 10 gallon", like that means anything. Of course it can't - that's applying the rule to a situation it is not meant for. The rule is meant for small fish. In my experience, stocking small fish by that guideline is actually a bit conservative. I've stocked tanks one fish per gallon, of small (~2 inch) schooling fish. That all being said, the inch per gallon rule has many limitations, and it's important for new fish keepers to learn them and adjust accordingly. In a way it's a rite of passage.
Your stock is not your problem - your problem has to do with keeping the plants. Unfortunately that's where my help ends. I'm sure one of our plant nuts will be able to dissect it for you and figure out where the imbalance is, whether its on the fertilizer side, or the lighting side, or whatever. A small tidbit about lighting I've picked up along the way - how old is the bulb? Often people wait till the bulb burns out before they replace it, but what can happen is that an old bulb does not produce the same spectrum of light that it once did, and algaes thrive on certain wavelengths. Just a shot in the dark really, but I thought I'd share.
What type of light do u have I'm on my phone so it's hard to go into detail but sounds like a nutrient balance possibly macros flourish is mostly micros and there may be a abundance thus causing the algae
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You are only using RO water, are you adding anything to bring the hardness up? RO is going to be near 0dGH and plants need from 5dGH and up. It could easily be that the plants are not able to use the nutrients (macro and trace) that you are adding so the algae is taking off as it will use them. It's all about balance.
If your hardness is being supplemented and is Ok then how long did you try any of the fixes?
2ppm chloramine is normal and most people have that in their water. A product like Prime (treats up to 4ppm based on the suggested dose) will treat that and the water is fine, in fact I would suggest that the treated water is better than the RO water due to the probable hardness in the tap water... but you need to know what it is.
is your CO2 levels constant? fluctuating levels usually promotes algae growth rather than deter it. A local hobbyist had a fine collection of algae in his tank until he managed to get the CO2 under control. then the algae simply died off naturally.
Chloramine is easily handled with planted tanks, by using a conditioner at each water change that detoxifies it and then the system takes over.
Something else I spotted, stop using the Excel, on top of diffused CO2 this is going to affect things. I know Excel sometimes kills brush algae...but not always as Seachem themselves say, and given its toxic nature I would not use it. One less chemical going into the soup.
Can you post a photo of the entire tank? Photos tell us a lot.
im going to have to stick by whats been said here already, but would also like to bring up once more that the flourish macros you are giving are not enough (idk if you are using RO water or not since you haven't stated.) the lack of enough macros and not enough hardness is causing a problem with the plants. ive heard of others using seachems equilbreium in high tech EI setups to fix the hardness issue. maybe try there?
once you get your hardness to where it should be then I would look into some stronger macros (dry ferts) N P and K. with these changes you should notice a positive difference in the plants and new growth. in my experience algae can take advantage of anything excess but certain types prefer certain excesses. after switching to some stronger macros then I would look into the micros and trace.
the brush algae that has accumulated thus far wont ever go anywhere - nothing eats it that I know of so you will have to manually remove it. now u mention you have algae everywhere didn't catch if you said it was growing on plants or not?
some pictures and closeups will help with some ideas to get you on track. sorry your in this mess I went through a stent of algae about a month ago. the problem pops up fast but takes months to correct its frusterating but a very strong sense of accomplishment once you get it taken care of.
one other thing is the excel - I too went to excel to help with my situation, it helped somewhat but also melted a few of my plants (some melting of certain plants nobody would of thought would happen to) as Byron said this could be contributing to some plant issues too.
hang in there!
The first thing that struck me was using Excel and injecting CO2. That's a double dose that could be causing problems. Secondly, the use of RO water. As others have said, your tap water can be easily treated and it doesn't take anything special to do it. Most conditioners will handle it. I'm not convinced that light is your problem. Too much carbon and the RO are where I'd direct my attention first. Best of luck.
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